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Half of plant and animal species at risk from climate change in world's most important natural places

14. March 2018 - 1:00
LONDON - Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked. Even if the Paris Climate Agreement 2°C target is met, these places could lose 25 per cent of their species according to a landmark new study by the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and WWF.

Published today in the journal Climatic Change and just ahead of Earth Hour, the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, researchers examined the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 of the world's most diverse and naturally wildlife-rich areas. It explores a number of different climate change futures – from a no-emissions-cuts case in which global mean temperatures rise by 4.5°C[1], to a  2°C rise, the upper limit for temperature in the Paris Agreement[2]. Each area was chosen for its uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there.

The report finds that the Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs, south-west Australia and the Amazon-Guianas are projected to be some the most affected areas. If there was a 4.5°C global mean temperature rise, the climates in these areas are projected to become unsuitable for many of the plants and animals that currently live there meaning: 
  • Up to 90 per cent of amphibians, 86 per cent of birds and 80 per cent of mammals could potentially become locally extinct in the Miombo Woodlands, Southern Africa
  • The Amazon could lose 69 per cent of its plant species
  • In south-west Australia 89 per cent of amphibians could become locally extinct
  • 60 per cent of all species are at risk of localized extinction in Madagascar
  • The Fynbos in the Western Cape Region of South Africa, which is experiencing a drought that has led to water shortages in Cape Town, could face localised extinctions of a third of its species, many of which are unique to that region.
As well as this, increased average temperatures and more erratic rainfall could become be the "new normal" according to the report - with significantly less rainfall in the Mediterranean, Madagascar and the Cerrado-Pantanal in Argentina. Potential effects include[3];
  • Pressure on the water supplies of African elephants – who need to drink 150-300 litres of water a day
  • 96 per cent of the breeding grounds of Sundarbans tigers could become submerged by sea-level rise
  • Comparatively fewer male marine turtles due to temperature-induced sex assignment of eggs.
If species can move freely to new locations then the risk of local extinction decreases from around 25 per cent to 20 per cent with a 2°C global mean temperature rise.  If species cannot they may not be able to survive. Most plants, amphibians and reptiles, such as orchids, frogs and lizards cannot move quickly enough keep up with these climatic changes.

Lead researcher Prof Rachel Warren from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA said:
"Our research quantifies the benefits of limiting global warming to 2°C for species in 35 of the world's most wildlife-rich areas. We studied 80,000 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and found that 50 per cent of species could be lost from these areas without climate policy. However, if global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, this could be reduced to 25 per cent. Limiting warming to within 1.5°C was not explored, but would be expected to protect even more wildlife." 
Overall the research shows that the best way to protect against species loss is to keep global temperature rise as low as possible. The Paris Agreement pledges to reduce the expected level of global warming from 4.5°C to around 3°C, which reduces the impacts, but we see even greater improvements at 2°C; and it is likely that limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C would protect more wildlife.

This is why on 24 March millions of people across the world will come together for Earth Hour, to show their commitment to protecting biodiversity and being a part of the conversations and solutions needed to build a healthy, sustainable future – and planet – for all. The global mobilization sparked by Earth Hour also sends a clear message to business and government that there is a global will to change this trajectory.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF-UK commented:
"Within our children's lifetime, places like the Amazon and Galapagos Islands could become unrecognisable, with half the species that live there wiped out by human-caused climate change. Around the world, beautiful iconic animals like Amur tigers or Javan rhinos are at risk of disappearing, as well as tens of thousands plants and smaller creatures that are the foundation of all life on earth. That is why this Earth Hour we are asking everyone to make a promise for the planet and make the everyday changes to protect our planet."


For further information, please contact
Alexander Stafford
+44 (0)1483 412332
07742 093510
For questions about the Climatic Change paper, contact Rachel Warren, +44(0)1603 593912 
For questions about the full WWF report, contact Jeff Price, +44(0)1603 592561
Case studies
What individual species will experience:
  • Orang-Utans have a solitary life-style which allows them to move to cope with reduced food availability due to changing climates. However, females are strictly bound to their territories, which will prevent them from moving, and can put them at risk as there is a general reduction in available forest habitat due to deforestation, climate change and other human pressures
  • Snow leopards already live under extreme conditions with very little margin for changes which makes them particularly sensitive to changes in climate. Their habitat will shrink by 20 per cent due to climate change and will put them into greater direct competition over food and territory with the common leopard, which will likely lead to a further decline in numbers.
  • Tigers live in highly fragmented landscapes and will be greatly impacted by further climate-induced habitat loss. For example, projected sea level rise will submerge 96 per cent of breeding habitat for the Sundarbans tigers, and Amur tigers are unlikely to persist to the next century if the size and quality of their habitat is reduced.
  • Polar bears are among the most sensitive to climate change because they depend on sea ice to live and eat. Younger polar bears that are not as practiced hunters are particularly affected by food shortages due to shrinking sea ice. Polar bears in some areas are already in decline - for example, the population in Hudson Bay has been already reduced by 22 per cent - and are predicted to sharply decline by the end of the 21st century due to climate change.
  • Marine Turtles are highly sensitive to climate warming. While adults have been known to move to avoid too warm waters, a changing climate will impact greatly on their offspring. Tortoises and turtles are among the species with temperature-dependent sex determination. Warmer temperatures will produce more females resulting in a dangerous sex bias. Also increased flooding will increase egg mortality and warmer sand will also produce smaller and weaker hatchlings.
 Notes to the editor 
  1. The research has been peer-reviewed and published 14 March 2018 in the academic journal Climatic Change.  The reference is The implications of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change for Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas by Warren, R.1, Price, J., VanDerWal, J., Cornelius, S., Sohl, H. 
  2. WWF has produced a summary report of the research titled 'Wildlife in a Warming World'
  3. The research published in Climatic Change was summarised from a 5-part report commissioned by WWF and led by Dr. Jeff Price.  This report includes a literature review on the effects of climate change on individual species led by Dr. Amy McDougall (formerly UEA).
  4. The models used in this research come from the Wallace Initiative (, a near decade long partnership between the Tyndall Centre at UEA (UK), eResearch at James Cook University (Australia), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and World Wildlife Fund. 
  5. Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment inspiring millions across the world to take action and make a promise to protect our brilliant planet, our home. Right now we're facing some of the biggest environmental threats ever seen, including staggering biodiversity loss. - We're seeing our oceans suffocated by plastic and over-consumption decimate our forests, the lungs of the earth. Earth Hour shows what we can achieve when we all come together. Last year in the UK over 9 million people took part, along with over 6,000 schools, 1,700 youth groups, 300 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Brighton Pier, Cardiff Castle and many more joined the global switch off. Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 187 countries and territories took part in the world's biggest Earth Hour yet. The support for Earth Hour and WWF's work more broadly has influenced climate policy, facilitated climate-friendly laws, such as a ban on plastic in the Galapagos Islands and supported the world's first Earth Hour forest in Uganda.
  6.  Follow WWF-UK on Facebook, Earth Hour Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest 
  7. WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @wwf
  8. The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a UK Top 15 university. Known for its world-leading research and outstanding student experience, it was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework. UEA is a leading member of Norwich Research Park, one of Europe's biggest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science. 
  9. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is an active and expanding partnership between the Universities of East Anglia (headquarters), Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Sussex, and recently Fudan University in Shanghai. It conducts research on the interdisciplinary aspects of climate change and is committed to promote informed and effective dialogue across society about the options to manage our future climate.
 [1] Relative to pre-industrial times[2] Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, was an agreement signed by 175 countries in 2016[3] Based on the Climatic Change report, scientific literature and expert knowledge from WWF

Cape Town water crisis: Michael Bloomberg on Ground Zero as Day Zero is pushed back

8. March 2018 - 1:00
In recent months, all eyes have been on Cape Town as the city copes with a water crisis of unprecedented scale. It has been billed as the first major city in the world to run the risk of its taps running dry and though latest news reports indicate that Day Zero may be pushed back, the city's four million residents have become the face of the 'new normal' the world appears to be heading toward.

Not surprising then that in his first trip as U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, decided to visit the Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam supplying water to the Western Cape of South Africa, on Wednesday.

At the site, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City said: "The extreme drought here in Cape Town should be a wake-up call for all who think that climate change is some far off threat. It's already here, it's making droughts and storms more dangerous, and we've got to do more to keep it from getting worse. Cities and businesses are helping to lead the way, but all levels of society in all countries - on all continents - must take bolder actions. We cannot let droughts like this become common around the world."

Christine Colvin from WWF-South Africa accompanied Mr Bloomberg on the visit along with other prominent environmental and water experts to discuss how, given the intensification of extreme weather due to climate change around the globe, cities can accelerate their preparations for an uncertain water future.

Colvin said: "The current Cape water crisis has had a dramatic impact not just on water availability, but also our relationship with water. Water has suddenly become everybody's business as households and the private sector have scrambled to secure alternate, off-mains supplies and improve their levels of water-use efficiency and independent water security. A 'New Normal' is going to require a diversification of water sources and a rethink of our current infrastructure. Catchments, aquifers and our water source areas are a critical component of that infrastructure. They require direct attention and investment as part of our future economic development. The natural links in our water value chain can no longer be allowed to fall through the administrative gaps between national government and water service providers. As we move to more decentralized use with thousands of individuals managing boreholes, recycling systems and rain water, we need to find a new model that enables us all to be both consumers and custodians of this our shared water resources."

To find out more about how citizens, companies and decision-makers have taken actions to push back Day Zero in recent months, visit

Mondi joins WWF's Climate Savers business leadership programme

7. March 2018 - 1:00
Global packaging and paper group adopts 2050 science-based targets to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C.  

Vienna, Austria  – Mondi Group has joined the ranks of global climate leaders by signing up to Climate Savers, WWF's climate leadership programme for businesses. The packaging and paper group commits to reduce its specific production-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 0.25 t CO2e/t production by 2050. This commitment and others made as part of its participation in the flagship programme are in line with climate science targets required to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C. 
Mondi's participation in Climate Savers is an extension of a strategic global partnership between Mondi and WWF that started in 2014. The partnership focuses on promoting environmental stewardship in the packaging and paper sector. In joining Climate Savers, Mondi commits to working to further reduce GHG emissions across its entire value chain and to taking actions to positively influence the packaging and paper industry as well as policy makers. Climate Savers members aim to transform businesses into low-carbon economy leaders.
Peter Oswald, Chief Executive Officer, Mondi Group says, "As a global player in the packaging and paper industry, we are part of an energy intensive sector. We've managed to reduce our specific CO2 emissions by 38% since 2004 by focusing on operational efficiency and energy efficiency. We join the WWF Climate Savers programme to reinforce our long-standing commitment to climate change mitigation and to demonstrate to the rest of our industry that using energy efficiently is not only necessary for the environment, but also good for business. We are proud to confirm our commitment to the science-based target needed to keep global warming well below 2°C for our production-related emissions."
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice says, "Climate change is one of the biggest threats of our future, with fundamental impacts on places, species and people everywhere.  To change things for the better, we need to start acting now. We welcome Mondi's efforts toward helping build a more sustainable business world and are happy to have them join the Climate Savers programme."
To achieve its climate goals, Mondi has developed an ambitious programme to improve energy efficiency, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, sustainably manage its forests and associated ecosystems, and source its raw materials responsibly. Mondi is also active in developing packaging and paper products that help its customers and consumers reduce their own carbon footprints.
Mondi's Climate Savers agreement will run at least until the end of 2020, concurrent with phase two of its global partnership with WWF.
Notes for Editors:
Mondi's Climate Savers commitments and climate targets:
  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions*: Mondi commits to reduce production-related, absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with evidence- based climate science targets to keep global warming below two degrees. This requires a reduction of specific production-related GHG emissions to 0.25 tonnes CO2e per tonne of saleable production by 2050. 
  • Reduce scope 3 emissions*: Mondi commits to improve data collection for its indirect GHG emissions along the value chain (Scope 3 emissions) and to set ambitious reduction targets in the field of its supply chain and transport of raw materials and products.
  • Increase renewable energy: Mondi will investigate opportunities to increase renewable energy in a sustainable way and implement them where feasible. 
  • Be an agent of change: Mondi will work actively to positively influence the paper and packaging industry to join the movement and commit to keeping their production-related greenhouse gas emissions in line with the international target to stay well below 2°C temperature increase.
* Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organization. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam. Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions, such as those produced through extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, or through outsourced, transport-related activities.

For further information please contact:
Theresa Gral, Media Officer, WWF Austria,, +43 676 834 88 216
Mandy Jean Woods, Communications Manager, WWF Climate & Energy Practice,
Jennifer Buley, Group Communication & Marketing, Mondi,
About WWF Climate Savers - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Climate & Energy Practice is WWF's global programme addressing climate change. It includes Climate Savers, aimed at engaging the private sector nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
About WWF - WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources.

About Mondi - Mondi is a global leader in packaging and paper, employing around 26,000 people in over 30 countries. We are fully integrated across the packaging and paper value chain – from managing forests and producing pulp, paper and flexible plastics, to developing and manufacturing effective industrial and consumer packaging solutions. Sustainability is embedded in everything we do, with clearly defined commitments across 10 action areas. We delight our customers with our innovative and sustainable packaging and paper solutions. Our major operations are in central Europe, Russia, North America and South Africa.

Mondi has a dual listed company structure, with a primary listing on the JSE Limited for Mondi Limited under the ticker MND and a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange for Mondi plc, under the ticker MNDI. We are a FTSE 100 constituent, and have been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2008 and the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index since 2007.

Project Extraordinary: A novel challenge to 'make sustainability sexy'

23. February 2018 - 1:00
The word 'sustainability' may bring a lot of adjectives to one's mind but 'desirable' or 'sexy' is rarely one of them. Sustainability is not often seen as a 'must have' and yet as we use and consume resources as if we had 1.7 earths, there is an urgent need for each of us to rethink how we can feed, fuel and power our society differently.

On 21 February 2018, WWF-New Zealand and WiLD Studios (the short-film division of award winning international documentary filmmakers NHNZ, otherwise called Natural History NZ) launched a global video challenge to encourage the world's best creative teams to do just that.

Project Extraordinary is an unprecedented competition inviting creative agencies around the globe to develop a short-form video concept that demonstrates how sustainability can be desirable, and sexy. The project aims to harness the full potential of creative genius to give sustainability a mainstream appeal and encourage one billion consumers globally to make more than 50 per cent of their purchases based on sustainability as one of the top three decision triggers by 2020.

WWF-New Zealand CEO, Livia Esterhazy says, "When I worked in the advertising world, it constantly surprised and inspired me how creatives approached a problem and developed ideas to solve them. The degradation of our planet is the single-most pressing problem facing our very existence. This project is a bold idea to harness creative power globally to help build a future where people live in harmony with nature."

Running from now until 12 April 2018, the competition is open to all registered creative, advertising or communications agencies around the world. Three concepts will be shortlisted as 'highly commended' by a distinguished and diverse jury to be subsequently filmed and produced by WiLD Studios in collaboration with the respective agencies. The Winner of The Extraordinary Award will be chosen from the three Highly Commended finished films, by Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International and the panel members of the 'How to Make Sustainability Sexy' forum taking place in Cannes in June 2018.

Marco Lambertini says, "We know what we need to do; the science is there. The challenge is to make sustainability of our planet desirable. Inspirational. Let's get personal and real. We need to stop talking in generalities and show every consumer in every corner of the globe exactly how they can be part of the solution."
With experts estimating only one percent of the materials used to produce consumer goods are still in use six months after sale, there is an urgent need to shift consumer attitudes and make sustainability a priority choice for people everywhere.

WiLD Studios Executive Producer, Carolyn Managh explains, "This is a history-making opportunity for a creative agency. To go beyond the documentary format typically applied to this topic and find a sexy and relevant way to reinvent the way sustainability is pitched to global consumers is clearly no small feat. This is why we've opened the challenge up to the best creative minds around the world".

To learn more and participate in Project Extraordinary, visit The winning film will premiere on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 in the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumière at Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

Hong Kong Ivory Ban is Now Law: WWF Says it's Time to Close All Asian Illegal Wildlife Markets

1. February 2018 - 1:00
[HONG KONG – 31 January 2018] - A ban on the domestic ivory trade with no compensation by 2021 and an increase in the maximum penalty for wildlife crime offences to 10 years was approved today by the Legislative Council. WWF welcomes the new legislation and would like to thank all the supporters that helped to make this happen.

"A ban on ivory sales with heavier penalties in Hong Kong shows a clear commitment towards the future of African elephants. This will help reverse the trend of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trafficking." said Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime. Hong Kong is the largest ivory city market in the world and a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade due to low fines and sentences for traffickers and zero prosecutions of the criminal kingpins. 

China closed its legal ivory market at the end of 2017. All ivory trade in the country is now illegal, which may intensify Hong Kong's position as a preferred market for illegal ivory under the cover of remaining legal traders. The Hong Kong ban will help blunt this trend. There is also evidence that domestic ivory markets in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Japan, and Myanmar are increasingly catering to visitors from China. Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director said, "This is the time to increase rather than to relax our efforts. With stronger sentences in Hong Kong, law enforcement should take a greater role in joint efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal wildlife syndicates. WWF calls on governments across Asia to follow China and Hong Kong's lead and close their ivory markets."

Since 2015, WWF-Hong Kong has been campaigning for a ban on the ivory trade and making wildlife crime a serious crime in Hong Kong. WWF's report, The Hard Truth, revealed several legal loopholes in Hong Kong's ivory regulations and published a Feasibility Study on the Ban of Hong Kong's Ivory Trade in 2016. Through these in-depth studies on the ivory trade in Hong Kong and various community engagement campaigns, we received enormous public support with 91,643 Hongkongers signing a petition in support of a ban. In response to calls from WWF and other NGOs, the government moved forward with the proposed five-year timetable to end the domestic ivory trade.

** WWF is happy to arrange interviews with our expert on this issue:
Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime
Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director

– END –
For more information, please contact WWF-Hong Kong:Ms Connie Tam
Communications Manager
Tel:  2161 9634 / 9811 3804
E-mail: Rainy Siu
Assistant Communications Manager, Programmes
Tel: 2161 9624 / 9774 4959

Bulgarian government silently moves to open almost half of Pirin National Park to construction despite public concerns

29. December 2017 - 1:00
Sofia, 29 December 2017 - In a surreptitious move, the government of Bulgaria approved on Thursday alarming new changes to the Pirin National Park management plan that could allow construction in up to 48 per cent of the park, a World Heritage site home to bears, chamois, wolves and centuries-old pine forests. The decision, announced a few days before Bulgaria takes over the Presidency of the European Council, comes a day after the closing of a public consultation on the proposed changes, launched on 22 November 2017, and offers no indication of its results.
The current management plan of Pirin National Park expired in 2014 but remains in place while the new draft plan awaits a court ruling on its roll-out. WWF and other NGOs of the For the Nature coalition filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria in March 2017 following the environment and water ministry's decision that the new draft management plan did not require a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment.
"The new draft management plan for Pirin National Park is bad and highly contentious, but the changes to the current management plan are worse. The draft plan, for example, envisages construction on an area that is 12.5 times larger than the currently permitted area while the changes to the current plan open up 80 times more area for construction," said Katerina Rakovska, protected areas expert, WWF-Bulgaria.
A letter sent by the Bansko Ski Zone concessioner Yulen AD as part of the public consultation for the new draft management plan, seen by WWF, outlined intentions for enlarging the ski zone to 333 km of runs and 113 km of ski lifts. While the current management plan only allows for construction in 0.6 per cent of the park's territory, with the new changes approved yesterday, such an extension could now be possible.
"These amendments allow for even bigger construction in Pirin than the draft plan," added Rakovska. "It is very concerning that the government has moved to approve these changes, without any transparency on the public consultation and while the new draft plan is blocked by the country's administrative court precisely over concerns on its potential environmental impact."
In November 2016, WWF launched an international campaign in support of Pirin National Park to highlight the importance of the site to people in Bulgaria and globally. Currently, over 108,000 people have signed the petition, urging Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to protect the World Heritage site and its pristine wildlife.
Pirin was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. However, in 2010, UNESCO excluded the ski areas above the towns of Bansko and Dobrinishte from the World Heritage site, identifying them as part of the buffer zone due to the damages and destruction caused by construction around the Bansko ski zone. The installation of the facilities led to the clearance of more than 160 ha of forests, including old-growth trees aged between 120 and 300 years.
Pirin is also a part of the Natura 2000 network of the European Union and WWF, together with other partner NGOs of the For the Nature coalition in Bulgaria, will signal to the European Commission the latest decision which violates European legislation on Natura 2000 areas. The coalition will also be appealing the decision in national courts.

In November 2017, an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report stated that the conservation outlook of Pirin National Park in Bulgaria is of "significant concern", just one step prior to the final, "critical" stage. The report underlined the threats of disturbance and fragmentation of the site associated with the exclusion of the skiing areas as incompatible with its World Heritage status.

WWF welcomes China's national carbon emission trading system

21. December 2017 - 1:00
Beijing, 21 December 2017 – China's nationwide carbon emission trading system, launched on 19 December, marks an important step toward promoting a low carbon transition in the world's leading emitter of CO2, according to WWF.
Szeping LO, CEO of WWF-China, says the emissions trading system (ETS) could provide new impetus for China's low carbon development and the country's transition toward a low carbon economy by helping align its potential with commitments under the Paris Agreement.
"The ETS should be consistent with China's climate plan targets, and contribute to the implementation of Paris Agreement. An allowance allocation approach should make a gradual shift from free to auction, leading to more climate actions and greater investment in clean technologies," he said.
According to China's Future Generation 2.0 report in 2015, around 84 per cent of China's electricity generation can be met by renewable sources by mid-century if appropriate policies are put in place.
"An energy transition to renewables is economically feasible in the Chinese power sector. We hope the national carbon market meets its potential and provides a new and powerful push toward energy efficiency improvement and renewable development in power sector," Szeping added.
WWF is working toward helping accelerate the energy transition in China through policy research, pilot practice and international cooperation.
Notes for Editors
  1. Only China's power sector is covered in the preliminary stage of the ETS due to its relatively robust data and large proportion of total emissions. In the preliminary stage, more than 1,700 enterprises with over 3 billion tons CO2e will be covered, making the Chinese national ETS the biggest carbon market in the world. The government is expected to involve eight energy-intensive sectors including petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, steel and iron in the future.
  1. ETS is one of the most important policy tools available to control greenhouse gas emissions. Establishing a national carbon market was identified as a key priority in China's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), an important action for the implementation of Paris Agreement.
  1. In 2011, the NDRC approved seven pilot provinces and cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Hubei, Guangdong and Shenzhen) to carry out the Carbon Emissions Trading System. By November 2017, the seven pilot carbon markets covered nearly 3,000 key enterprises from more than 20 industries and traded 200 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), involving a total turnover of about 4.6 billion Yuan.
For further information, contact
WWF-China - Qing YI
WWF International - Mandy Jean Woods

TRAFFIC Study: Japan's ivory market must close

20. December 2017 - 1:00
Well-organized transnational criminal networks and a poorly regulated domestic market are among the factors making Japan a lucrative target for procuring ivory products for illegal export. In the continued absence of effective regulation and law enforcement, WWF and TRAFFIC are calling for the closure of Japan's domestic ivory market pursuant to CITES [1].

Japan remains one of the world's largest domestic ivory markets, and is home to an active, though shrinking, ivory manufacturing industry. The country also boasts significant stockpiles of raw tusks in private ownership—a cultural legacy from its past trade.

Ivory Towers: An Assessment of Japan's Ivory trade and domestic market, a TRAFFIC study released today, presents the findings from surveys and interviews conducted in both physical and online markets in Japan between May and September 2017.

The report has revealed the growing trend for ivory in Japan's domestic antiques and tourist markets to be routinely purchased by visitors and agents for illegal ivory exports.

"Our findings show without doubt that Japan's largely unregulated domestic ivory market is contributing to illegal trade—a condition considered by Parties to CITES to warrant much stricter regulation and even the closure of the market," said Tomomi Kitade, an author of the report.

"It is imperative that Japan's role within international illegal ivory trade be recognized, and urgent steps taken to address the on-going illegal export and the regulatory gaps that are facilitating such criminal activity," added Kitade.

Japan's domestic legislation has consistently come under scrutiny given concerns regarding both its enforcement and legislative efficacy in ensuring legal ivory trade.

Current laws regulate ivory businesses, but not trade between individuals, except in cases where tusks are concerned.

Proposed reforms to the domestic Law for the Conservation of Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (LCES) are scheduled to come into effect in June 2018. Although it was hoped that this reform would address critical loopholes, TRAFFIC's analysis has already uncovered serious flaws which threaten to continue undermining efforts to combat illegal activity.

TRAFFIC has previously highlighted the contravention of domestic laws by Japanese ivory traders, and called for a nationwide clampdown on unscrupulous businesses.

However, illegal activity continues to be widespread as covert interviews with ivory vendors found that 73 per cent were actively promoting purchase that lead to illegal ivory exports, even giving advice to visitors on how best to conceal ivory products without permits in luggage.

The latest study's findings are supported by a review of ETIS [2] seizure records, which reveal a significant increase in illegal ivory exports from Japan, reaching a total of 2.42 tonnes of ivory seized between 2011 and 2016. In contrast, seizures concerning illegal imports over the same period totalled only 43 kg.

Overall, activities captured in the ETIS data indicated a one-way trend in which ivory commodities were illegally exported from Japan to China, representing 95 per cent of all illegal export by weight and further strengthening the conclusion that Japan has become a source for illegal ivory bound for markets in East Asia.

Online platforms were also found to be used for purchasing worked ivory products, with a recent seizure made by China's Customs authority in 2016 involving a staggering 1,639 pieces of worked ivory and carved tusks.

"This evidence acts as a timely reminder of the urgent need to shut down legal ivory markets which are exacerbating illegal trade. As we count down to 31 December marking the closure of China's legal ivory trade, we urge Japan and other key countries to follow suit. Regular travellers are likely to continue buying ivory and evidence suggests some ivory markets are gearing up to target Chinese tourists. We must quash this trend. With an average of 55 elephants poached daily for ivory, we simply can't let ivory markets remain open," said Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director, WWF-Hong Kong.

"Japan's contribution to illegal ivory trade dynamics can no longer be ignored," said Keiko Wakao, Head of TRAFFIC's Japan Office. "This report should be seen as the final straw for Japan's domestic ivory market. TRAFFIC will be working closely with the relevant Japanese authorities and ivory trade stakeholders to monitor progress in line with CITES Res. Conf. 10.10."

Notes to editors:
[1] CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
[2] ETIS is the Elephant Trade and Information System. ETIS is a database of seizure records concerning illegal trade in ivory and is managed by TRAFFIC as mandated by CITES.

The report Ivory Towers: An Assessment of Japan's Ivory trade and domestic market is available here. Photos and infographics can be found here.
For more information please contact:
Richard Thomas, Global Communications Co-ordinator
Ryoko Nishino, Programme Officer – Research & Communication,

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC works closely with its founding organizations, IUCN and WWF. For more information, visit  

First ever tagging of Amazon dolphins to boost conservation efforts

5. December 2017 - 1:00
For the first time ever, WWF and research partners  are now tracking river dolphins in the Amazon using satellite technology after scientists successfully tagged dolphins in Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia, attaching small transmitters that will provide new insights into the animals' movements and behaviour and the growing threats they face.

As of today, 11 dolphins, including both Amazonian and Bolivian river dolphins – two of the four species of freshwater dolphin found in the world's largest river system – have safely been tagged and researchers are already studying the incoming data.

Despite their iconic status, little is known about the populations, habits or key habitats of river dolphins in the Amazon. While there are estimated to be tens of thousands of river dolphins, the species are currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The tags will enable WWF and its partners to study where the dolphins go, where they feed, and how far they migrate.

"Satellite tracking will help us better understand the lives of this iconic Amazonian species more than ever before, helping to transform our approach to protecting them and the entire ecosystem," said Marcelo Oliveira, WWF Conservation Specialist, who led the expedition in Brazil. "Tagging these dolphins is the start of a new era for our work because we will finally be able to map where they go when they disappear from sight."

The tracking data will also guide efforts to tackle some of the major threats facing river dolphins, including hundreds of planned dams that would fragment many of the Amazon's remaining free flowing rivers, worsening mercury contamination from small-scale gold mining, and illegal fishing.

"We who live in the Amazon know that our environment is facing growing and unprecedented threats and that our future is linked to the future of dolphins," said Fernando Trujillo from Fundación Omacha, a Colombian research partner.

"This tagging project is critical because it will generate information that will enable governments across the region to target resources to protect dolphins and their habitats, which so many other species and communities also depend on," added Trujillo.
The capture and tagging of the dolphins followed a rigid protocol that prioritises the welfare of the animals. Having been caught in nets by teams of specialists, the dolphins were taken to shore for tagging in an operation lasting 15 minutes on average, before being released back into the water. None of the dolphins were injured during the operation and none displayed any ill effects after release.
Along with installing the transmitters, the scientists also took samples from the animals, which they will analyse for mercury levels and general health.

WWF and its partners will assess this historic tagging operation over the coming months and will look to scale it up and tag more dolphins if the technology continues to prove successful. The initiative is the latest step in WWF's long-term efforts to conserve river dolphins across the Amazon.
In addition to scientific research, WWF will continue to work with communities, advocate with authorities and promote the creation of new protected areas.

Eleventh hour support for vaquitas at CITES meeting but urgent action still needed on tackling illegal wildlife trade globally

2. December 2017 - 1:00

Geneva, 2 December 2017 - The 69th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has come to a close in Geneva having tackled the largest agenda with the largest number of participants ever.


In the final hour of the week-long session, Mexico, China and the United States made a surprise agreement to convene a high-level diplomatic mission to help stop the extinction of the vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, commonly referred to as the 'Panda of the Sea'.


The government of Mexico raised the issue noting the severity of the crisis facing vaquitas, and was supported by the United States and China. The high-level mission will support the much needed actions to address the significant challenges faced in ending the illegal totoaba fishing and trafficking.


Leigh Henry, Director of Wildlife Policy at WWF-US, said:


"It's been said before that it's the eleventh hour to save the vaquita: there are fewer than thirty individuals remaining and illegal fishing of totoaba is driving this elusive porpoise to extinction.


"Coming at the close of the meeting, Mexico's willing support for a high-level mission to assist their efforts to combat the illegal totoaba trade grants the world's most endangered marine mammal a lifeline. Drowning in nets set for totoaba is the only known threat to vaquita in their habitat."


WWF works with Mexico, as well as the US and China, to implement urgent measures to save the vaquita, and to secure a gillnet-free Upper Gulf of California that supports both their survival and the livelihoods of local communities.


The CITES meeting also discussed other pressing wildlife trade issues impacting some of the planet's most endangered species.


The Committee sent a strong message to Lao PDR on a number of issues including tiger farms, Siamese rosewood, legislation and enforcement, and widespread illegal wildlife markets.


Rob Parry-Jones, WWF's lead on wildlife crime said:

"Lao's inadequate enforcement is facilitating widespread illegal trade in threatened species, including tiger, elephant and rhino. We appreciate the cooperative spirit that they showed in the meeting but this must be followed by action as a matter of urgency."


Laos has to submit a detailed and time-bound plan of action by the end of the year, and a progress report by end of June 2018. Failure to submit the implementation plan or to demonstrate adequate progress could result in sanctions against the country.


Regarding pangolins, the Secretariat interpreted the provisions of the Convention to allow commercial trade in pangolin stocks acquired before the trade ban came into force in January 2017, but this view was rejected by majority vote.


Colman O Criodain, WWF's wildlife policy manager said:

"We were surprised by the Secretariat's interpretation. Had it stood it could have facilitated widespread unsustainable and illegal trade."


The Committee also struggled to agree on robust recommendations on the issue of Madagascar's ebonies, rosewoods and palisanders. Madagascar was seeking leave to sell its stockpiles of these valuable timbers, despite the fact that none of these stocks have been audited to date and that there is large-scale illegal trade. Fortunately this request was rejected.


Michel Masozera, WWF's deputy leader for wildlife for Africa said:

"The widespread illegal logging of precious timbers from the World Heritage Site, the Rainforests of the Atsinanana, undermines livelihood and development options for Madagascar and damages the habitat of unique species such as lemurs. The international community must act to bring this scandal to an end."


The impact of wildlife crime can be devastating for nature and communities as the illegal ivory trade has shown. The Committee specifically debated the situation regarding countries implicated in illegal ivory trade.


WWF-Hong Kong's Cheryl Lo said:

"We were disappointed that Japan and Singapore were not asked to prepare national ivory action plans, as many other countries have been required to do, given that both are implicated in illegal trade. We were pleased that many other countries including China, Viet Nam, Kenya, Tanzania and Qatar were retained in the scrutiny process. WWF urges all countries that have domestic markets that contribute to poaching and illegal trade to close those markets as a matter of urgency."


On other matters, Japan failed to persuade the Committee that its hunting of Sei whales in international waters – the meat of which is sold in Japanese markets - is primarily for scientific purposes end eligible for exemption from normal CITES rules. This parallels the very long debate that has gone unresolved in at the International Whaling Commission and in the International Court of Justice over Japan's controversial "scientific" whaling.

The Secretariat will seek to visit Japan and a final decision will be taken at the next meeting of the Standing Committee in October 2018.


Aimee Leslie, WWF's cetacean expert said:

"This is the last chance for Japan. "We call on Japan to end this take forthwith, as we share the prevailing view that it is in breach of CITES rules."



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For more information, please contact:


Lianne Mason | WWF International | Media Manager | | +65 9100 2437


About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

WWF statement on Stiegler's Gorge

29. November 2017 - 1:00

WWF is today asking potential investors, banks and construction companies not to invest in or lend to controversial hydropower dam Stiegler's Gorge, until a full Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out. Proposed to be built at the heart of Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania, WWF wants the true impacts of the dam to first be assessed and the World Heritage Committee to give its approval. The proposed dam would endanger the livelihoods of 200,000 local people and the reserve's rare wildlife, such as elephants and black rhinos, would be placed under even greater threat.

WWF wants to ensure that investors, banks and construction companies are aware of these risks, as well as the opportunities around alternative renewable energy sources in Tanzania that don't carry the negative consequences for the nature and the people who depend on this World Heritage site.


Anthony Field, WWF-International campaign manager, said:

"UNESCO has a clear position that dam projects that harm World Heritage sites should not be built. So far no assessment has been carried out for Stiegler's Gorge hydropower project. Companies who become involved in the project run the risk of significant reputational damage. We are asking investors, banks and those in the construction industry that work on dams to add Stiegler's Gorge to their risk register."




WWF commissioned research on the impacts of the dam that highlighted the large risks to the ecology, economy and livelihoods. In the Selous Game Reserve, it will create one of the largest reservoirs in East Africa, flooding 1,200km2 including critical habitat for black rhinos. It will impact on current tourism in Selous as well as future potential tourism that the World Bank and German Government are investing in. Its impacts will stretch far downstream.


The project is against Tanzanian law as no Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out in advance of the planning for the project and tender being issued.


The risk has been recognised by UNESCO World Heritage Committee and its statutory advisor the IUCN who have highlighted "the high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property resulting from the Stiegler's Gorge Hydropower project" and have urged the Tanzania state party to abandon the project. In addition UNESCO World Heritage Committee has a position against dams with large reservoirs that harm World Heritage properties.


The natural characteristics of the site on which this project is proposed will make it near impossible to satisfy best practice environmental due diligence standards on Hydroelectric from the International Finance Corporation, particularly in relation to mitigating impacts on indigenous persons, water, protected areas and endangered species. This leaves investors possibly exposed to grievance procedures brought by civil society through, for instance, the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.


More information about WWF's work to protect the Selous Game Reserve UNESCO World Heritage Site can be found here:


In April 2016 WWF launched a campaign, Together, Saving Our Shared Heritage, which aims to safeguard natural World Heritage sites. Over 1.5 million people have taken advocacy actions to political and business leaders including the leaders of Belize, Bulgaria, Spain, Mexico and Tanzania:

Revealed: New WWF report unveils the unseen benefits of saving wild tigers

27. November 2017 - 1:00
Money invested by governments, aid agencies and funds raised by supporters across the globe to save wild tigers have unseen benefits for Asia's wildlife and millions of people, according to a new WWF report - Beyond the Stripes: Save tigers, save so much more.
Tiger landscapes - which range from the world's largest mangrove forests in the Sundarbans, to temperate forests in the snowy mountains of Bhutan - overlap with globally-important ecosystems, many of which are part of Asia's last wilderness. These biodiversity-rich areas harbour a wealth of critically important goods and services that millions of people rely on, from mitigating climate change and safeguarding freshwater to reducing the impact of natural disasters and improving the health of local people.
The report highlights that securing tiger landscapes could help protect at least nine major watersheds, which regulate and provide freshwater for up to 830 million people in Asia, including in urban areas across India, Malaysia and Thailand. Similarly, safeguarding tiger landscapes could, in turn, protect the last remaining forests critical for carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate climate change.
"Every dollar invested in saving the wild tiger also helps save many threatened species, and ecosystem services that are critical to millions of people," said Michael Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers Alive. "Protecting the vast landscapes where tigers thrive helps to regulate freshwater, reduce the impacts of climate change and provide a source of clean air, medicinal plants, jobs, and so much more."
Yet, wild tigers are endangered, and their habitats are threatened; having lost 95 per cent of their global range, the cats are now confined to fragmented populations in Asia's surviving forest habitats. Even in the remaining range where tigers roam, close to half (43 per cent) of the present suitable tiger habitat could soon be lost to unsustainable agriculture expansion and urbanization, the report warns.
Forest loss continues at an alarming rate in tiger range states. Malaysia and Indonesia are among the world's leading producers of carbon emissions linked to forest degradation. If such trends persist, more key tiger landscapes could switch from absorbing carbon to becoming net carbon emitters. In Sumatra alone, the only place in the world where tigers, orangutans and rhinos are found in the same habitat, deforestation has reduced natural forest cover by more than 50 per cent in the past three decades.
"The success of protecting wild tigers is a perfect indicator for Asia's sustainable development. With Asia's rapid economic expansion, prioritizing tiger conservation will significantly aid in securing natural capital that is necessary to meet the region's sustainable development goals," said Baltzer. "Protecting tiger landscapes achieves a win-win for tigers, and for our future generations. But if we fail to save wild tigers, we may fail to save much more."
As an apex predator, tigers need vast landscapes to thrive, sharing their home with many other endangered species, such as the Asian elephant, leopard, and orangutan. Protecting the tiger's habitat thus helps to protect other threatened wildlife, including endangered but lesser known species that would otherwise receive little support – such as the pignose frog that spends most of its life underground, and is found only in the mountainous Western Ghats of India, where tigers have helped to spearhead the protection of natural sites.
Notes to Editor:
This report is launched on the seventh anniversary month of the St Petersburg Tiger Summit, where TX2 - the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 - was committed to by 13 tiger range governments in 2010.
Learn more about TX2 and how WWF is driving the global goal to double tigers at
For photos, videos, and a full copy of the report, you may access them here. Or visit for more.
For further information:
Jia Ling Lim | Communications Manager | WWF Tigers Alive
Lianne Mason | Media Manager | WWF International
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources